Friday, October 31, 2014

Blog Tour (Review & Giveaway): The Tudor Vendetta by C.W. Gortner

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Title: The Tudor Vendetta (The Spymaster Chronicles #3)
Author:
C.W. Gortner
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (Macmillan)
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Acquired Via: Historical Fiction Blog Tours

London, 1558. Queen Mary is dead, and 25-year old Elizabeth ascends the throne. Summoned to court from exile abroad, Elizabeth’s intimate spy, Brendan Prescott, is reunited with the young queen, as well as his beloved Kate, scheming William Cecil, and arch-rival, Robert Dudley. A poison attempt on Elizabeth soon overshadows her coronation, but before Brendan can investigate, Elizabeth summons him in private to dispatch him on a far more confidential mission: to find her favored lady in waiting, Lady Parry, who has disappeared during a visit to her family manor in Yorkshire.

Upon his arrival at the desolate sea-side manor where Lady Parry was last seen, he encounters a strange, impoverished family beset by grief, as well as mounting evidence that they hide a secret from him. The mystery surrounding Lady Parry deepens as Brendan begins to realize there is far more going on at the manor than meets the eye, but the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery in Vaughn Hall, the more he learns that in his zeal to uncover the truth, he could be precipitating Elizabeth’s destruction.

From the intrigue-laden passages of Whitehall to a foreboding Catholic manor and the deadly underworld of London, Brendan must race against time to unravel a vendetta that will strike at the very core of his world—a vendetta that could expose a buried past and betray everything he has fought for, including his loyalty to his queen.


My Review

I'm going to start out my review by telling you this - any enjoyment that I was lacking in The Tudor Vendetta was completely my fault. In case you're wondering how in the world I could manage that...well...I didn't do my research. I had no idea that this was the third book in a series, and I usually look these things up. That being said, once I got into the groove of this book, I was able to catch up with the plot of this particular installment.

As with any good Tudor novel, there is intrigue, mystery, sex, betrayal, and... Wait, that's not enough? How about I tell you that there's a sexual encounter in the first pages of the book? *waggles eyebrows* Yep, Tudor novel, alright. That may have had a teensy bit to do with why I didn't realize that this book was a sequel at first.

In all seriousness, The Tudor Vendetta had everything that I enjoy in novels set in this era except told a little differently. I really like things told from one of the monarchs' viewpoints or from one of their inner circle. (Brendon Prescott doesn't live with Elizabeth and spend his days with her, so I don't consider him inner circle. Kate Stafford, yes.) That being said, he was an interesting main character, and I liked reading about him and what he did for his queen. I really wish I had read the earlier books in the series so I could see how everything was being tied together in this book. Maybe when I forget about The Tudor Vendetta in a year or three, I'll read the first two and reread this one.

If I can enjoy a book without knowing what's going on at the beginning, then I'm sure that you will love The Tudor Vendetta if you read The Tudor Secret first. C.W. Gortner has quite a few historical novels out, so I'll be giving those a shot in the future, too.

- 3/5 Stars -

Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound



About the Author

C.W. Gortner holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.

After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding.

C.W. recently completed his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about Lucrezia Borgia; the third novel in his Tudor Spymaster series for St Martin’s Press; and a new novel about the dramatic, glamorous life of Coco Chanel, scheduled for lead title publication by William Morrow, Harper Collins, in the spring of 2015.

Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.

Links
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest
YouTube | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 20
Review at The Maiden’s Court
Guest Post at Mina’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, October 21
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, October 22
Review at Back Porchervations
Review at Always With a Books

Thursday, October 23
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Friday, October 24
Interview at Back Porchervations

Monday, October 27
Review at JulzReads
Review at Queen of All She Reads

Tuesday, October 28
Review at Beth’s Book Reviews
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Wednesday, October 29
Review at Making My Mark
Review at Writing the Renaissance
Guest Post at Bookish

Thursday, October 30
Review & Guest Post at Drey’s Library
Review & Interview at The Copperfield Review & From Meredith Allard
Interview at Writing the Renaissance

October 31
Review at Bibliophilia, Please
Review at Book by Book

Monday, November 3
Review at Mari Reads
Review & Gues Post at JM Ledwell Writes

Tuesday, November 4
Review at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, November 5
Review at One Book at a Time
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, November 6
Review at Booktalk & More

Friday, November 7
Review at Build a Bookshelf

Monday, November 10
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, November 11
Review at A Book Geek
Review at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, November 12
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, November 13
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, November 14
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at Paranormal Book Club

Monday, November 17
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at The Never-Ending Book

Tuesday, November 18
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Guest Post at What is That Book About

Wednesday, November 19
Review at Kate Forsyth’s Blog

Thursday, November 20
Review & Interview at The Tudor Enthusiast

Friday, November 21
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Monday, November 24
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at The True Book Addict

Tuesday, November 25
Review at Historical Tapestry
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, November 26
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, November 28
Review at Books in the Burbs
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Tour-Wide Giveaway

To win a complete set of CW Gortner’s Spymaster Chronicles trilogy please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on November 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on November 29th and notified via email.
Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

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Title: The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1)
Author:
Marie Lu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (Penguin)
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Acquired Via:
Publisher

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.


It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

My Review

You can read Kayla's review of the book HERE.

I have very mixed feelings about The Young Elites. On one hand I loved the world, but on the other I thought that there was a distinct lack of plot.

In an Italian-based society, fever has destroyed a nation and left behind either death or marked children called malfettos. Some of the marked children have manifested powers, and some of them have banded together and are known as the Young Elites. The other citizens fear and hate the malfettos, and a government group called the Inquisition is tasked with destroying the Young Elites.

At first, I really liked Adelina. She's dark and angry, and I thought she would make a great anti-heroine. Even as bad as her life has been, she refuses to be broken. But, as the story goes on, she doesn't ever really evolve past her anger. It's more like things happen to her and she lashes out in fear and anger, instead of proactively trying to change her situation, either with her power or her intelligence. She's also quite selfish and unaware of anyone else's problems but her own. She seems quite worried about her sister in certain points in the book, yet she also hates and is extremely jealous of her sister. A lot of her actions were based on simply what was easiest for Adelina, and to hell with anyone else, including those she "loved". I hope we see a lot of character development in the sequel. There is a dark badass lurking in Adelina. She just needs to take charge of her power and her future, instead of letting events happen to her.

The reason I am willing to give the second book a shot is that this felt just like a set up to the world. Like the first book in a lot of epic fantasies, where nothing really happens to the characters except that they journey all around the world. Instead of journeying all around the world, Adelina is exploring her powers, and the reader is learning all about the world. There are a few plots which seem to go nowhere, or end in tragedy. And there was a plot device which I think I have come to abhor - blackmailing the lead into betraying a confidence. It also leads to the other plot device I hate - betrayal or miscommunication that could have been avoided with a simple conversation. Does anyone else want to scream at characters to just talk to each other??

When I finished the last chapter before the epilogue, I was just confused. It felt like nothing was accomplished in the book. It didn't feel like the Young Elites had done anything to better their position from the beginning of the book. The epilogue kind of adds a few plot twists, but it wasn't enough to satisfy me. Also, I'm not sure that I like something that the epilogue implies; it feels like just a magical fix to the situation. However, the epilogue also introduces a new character which I think I'm going to love, Mauve.

The world-building really makes The Young Elites stand-out novel, because the dark world with powerful but scarred children is an imaginative one. But, the lack of plot really diminished my enjoyment.

- 3.5/5 Stars -

Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Fishpond



To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Blog Tour (Excerpt & Giveaway): Night of a Thousand Stars by Deanna Raybourn

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Title: Night of a Thousand Stars
Author:
Deanna Raybourn
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Release Date: October 1, 2014
Acquired Via: Historical Fiction Blog Tours

New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn returns with a Jazz Age tale of grand adventure...

On the verge of a stilted life as an aristocrat’s wife, Poppy Hammond does the only sensible thing—she flees the chapel in her wedding gown. Assisted by the handsome curate who calls himself Sebastian Cantrip, she spirits away to her estranged father’s quiet country village, pursued by the family she left in uproar. But when the dust of her broken engagement settles and Sebastian disappears under mysterious circumstances, Poppy discovers there is more to her hero than it seems.

With only her feisty lady’s maid for company, Poppy secures employment and travels incognita—east across the seas, chasing a hunch and the whisper of clues. Danger abounds beneath the canopies of the silken city, and Poppy finds herself in the perilous sights of those who will stop at nothing to recover a fabled ancient treasure. Torn between allegiance to her kindly employer and a dashing, shadowy figure, Poppy will risk it all as she attempts to unravel a much larger plan—one that stretches to the very heart of the British government, and one that could endanger everything, and everyone, that she holds dear.


Excerpt

Chapter One

March 1920

“I say, if you’re running away from your wedding, you’re going about it quite wrong.”

I paused with my leg out the window, satin wedding gown hitched up above my knees. A layer of tulle floated over my face, obscuring my view. I shoved it aside to find a tall, bespectacled young man standing behind me. His expression was serious, but there was an unmistakable gleam in his eyes that was distinctly at odds with his clerical garb.

“Oh! Are you the curate? I know you can’t be the vicar. I met him last night at the rehearsal and he’s simply ancient. Looks like Methuselah’s godfather. You’re awfully young to be a priest, aren’t you?” I asked, narrowing my eyes at him.

“But I’m wearing a dog collar. I must be,” he protested. “And as I said, if you’re running away, you’ve gone about it quite stupidly.”

Waiting on Wednesday (78): A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.



Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)
Author:
Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Release Date: May 5, 2015

When 19-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it ... or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.



I loved Maas' Throne of Glass, but this year's release of Heir of Fire blew all of my expectations out of the water. She was already one of my auto-buy authors, so I honestly didn't even read the synopsis after I saw the cover release and decided this must be this week's Waiting on Wednesday. Then, I found out that it's a Beauty and the Beast retelling (which is my absolute favorite), so I am counting the days until I can get this beauty into my hands.

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blog Tour (Review & Giveaway): The Opal Crown by Jenny Lundquist

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The Opal Crown Tour Schedule

Welcome to my stop on The Opal Crown Blog Tour, brought to you by Rockstar Book Tours. Today I will be featuring my review of the book, and there will be a tour-wide giveaway at the end of the post!



Title: The Opal Crown (The Opal Mask #2)
Author:
Jenny Lundquist
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Tour Organizer: Rockstar Book Tours
Release Date: October 28, 2014

In the year since she was betrothed to the crown prince of Kyrenica, no one has suspected that the Masked Princess has been a decoy. That Elara, the secret twin sister, has been pretending to be Princess Wilha all along. The royal family has kept Elara’s identity hidden from the world, and for the girls, swapping lives has not been easy. Galandria is quickly declining, and the sisters continue to be a pawn in the Guardian’s ever-changing endgames.

But the stakes rise when Elara and Wilha’s younger brother, Andrei, takes the Galandrian throne after their father's death, and he reveals the girls' deception to Kyrenica’s royal family. Viewed as traitors, Elara and Wilha realize they are now fighting for their lives—and for their country. However, with only one crown and one throne to overthrow, Elara and Wilha must decide who will become queen. Or rather, the next savior for their people.

The sequel to the Princess in the Opal Mask.


My Review

You can read my review of the first book, The Princess in the Opal Mask, HERE.

I have to be honest. When I started The Opal Crown, I remembered very little about the first book in the series. (I'm awful about those sort of things, so don't even bother asking me what I had for breakfast.) However, once I started reading the book, I was returned to the wonderful world that Lundquist has created in these books.

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Themed

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Halloween Themed Top Ten

I don't really read that many horror novels anymore. I already have an over-active imagination and night terrors; I don't need to add novels to get more ideas. So this is just a mix-up of Halloween themed media.

Books to Read to Get in the Halloween Spirit



1. Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline is one of the creepiest books for children I have ever read. I think if I had been a child when I read it, I might have had nightmares for a long time.



2. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

What's more spooky and creepy than graveyards around Halloween? Growing up in a graveyard!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

#Lionsgate Horror Movie #Giveaway

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The Blair Witch Project was one of my favorite movies as a kid, so I want to share the opportunity to win a copy with you today, thanks to our friends at Lionsgate!

About #LionsgateHorror


Relive the horror classic! The Blair Witch Project follows a trio of filmmakers on what should have been a simple walk in the woods, but quickly becomes an excursion into heart-stopping terror.

Or dive into a new horror experience - from the director of The Blair Witch Project comes Exists, for five friends, it was a chance for a summer getaway - a weekend of camping in the Texas Big Thicket. But visions of a carefree vacation are shattered with an accident on a dark and desolate country road.

What’s a Halloween party without some creepy background visuals? Download the films and be prepped for this month’s creepy festivities.

THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT
Download | Facebook

EXISTS
Download | Facebook

CABIN IN THE WOODS
Download

CABIN FEVER
Download

THE DESCENT
Download

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

#TheDevilsHand - #ProphecyParty & $15 iTunes Gift Card #Giveaway

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Bibliophilia, Please is a "book blog", but I want to share the opportunity to win a prize with you guys. Today I'm featuring The Devil's Hand blog app, along with the opportunity to enter to win a $15 iTunes Gift Card!

About the Movie


When six girls are born on the sixth day of the sixth month to different mothers in the small, devout village of New Bethlehem an ancient prophecy is set in motion - on their 18th birthday one of the girls will become the Devil's Hand. As the day approaches and one by one the young women begin to disappear, terror overtakes the quiet community and those remaining girls band together to uncover who or what is behind these treacherous acts.

Starring Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter), Rufus Sewell (Dark City), and Adelaide Kane (The CW’s Reign), it will give you thrills and chills this October!

The Devil’s Hand is now available on iTunes, VOD and in select theaters.

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